Rev. Lloyd Sewell of Chimney Rock Baptist Church By Heidi Galek
November 7, 2011
Somerset — The Rev. Lloyd Sewell attended the final session of the annual Cumberland River Baptist Association meeting on September 10, 2011.
Bro. Sewell is the oldest living minister in the association.
The meeting was held at his home church – Pine Hill Baptist Church – where he is the oldest living member.
After the meeting a family din-ner was held in honor of his 102nd birthday, which was Nov. 4, 2011.
In attendance was five genera-tions of his family.
Bro. Sewell is shown with his daughter, Betty Sewell Bingham (left); granddaughter, Joyce Bingham Mink (right); and great-granddaughter, Melissa Mink Bradley (center). The fifth generation are his great-great-grandsons: James Bradley (left), Robert Bradley (center), and John Bradley (back).
His life has greatly blessed the Sewell family.
493. REV. LLOYD7 SEWELL (SILAS LOGAN6, BENJAMIN F.5, ISAAC4, DAWSON3, ABRAHAM2, JESSE1) was born November 04, 1909 in Pulaski County, Kentucky. He married MADELINE PHELPS June 10, 1929 in Indiana, daughter of WILLIAM PHELPS and BALZORA ERP. She was born March 19, 1907 in Pulaski County, Kentucky, and died April 02, 1998 in Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky.
Notes for REV. LLOYD SEWELL:
[Commonwealth Journal, Sunday, June 20, 1999 Somerset, Kentucky Signposts section two, page 25-26]
Carving Out a Life of Faith
Lloyd Sewell never suspected he'd become a man of God, but after more than five decades of being a Baptist minister, no one can argue he made the wrong life choice
By Heidi Galek
In a lovely, almost hidden away part of Pulaski County, lives Lloyd Sewell, a man who still preaches from time to time and spends time in his garage whittling out assorted a wooden projects.
Sewell has in his 89 years seen and done a number of things and still keeps incredibly busy. He was raised in the Grundy community, all which he pointed out was almost made into the county seat, but " just missed it by three votes. " Sewell went on for some years to the Eden School, beginning at age six; he remembers walking to classes barefoot.
As a small boy, Sewell did spend some time in Indiana when his father worked there for the railroads during World War I. His father worked to repair sections of the tracks, and a lot of his family worked on the railroad. Three uncles worked as Section foremen during those years.
Once he grew up, he became a traveling evangelist, preaching the Baptist faith all over the area, including at churches in Tateville, Mt. Zion, McKinney, Hale, Caintown, and many more locations. He remembers many groundbreakings, and one church where they had two cemeteries. One cemetery was for church members and family; the other was for non-parishioners and strangers. Sewell remembers one year a young baby died, and a few days afterwards a man committed suicide. They were buried in separate cemeteries.
He would travel around preaching the gospel; and remembering quarter-time and half-time services, where they had sermons twice a month on a rotating circuit.
Sewell pastored full-time for 49 years, but says the path towards a life of faith was not his original plan. It's "not necessarily what I wanted to do, but I just felt like that's what the Lord wanted me to do… So that's what I done." As a youth, "I just worked on the farm. Was just an old drunk and an old cusser before I was saved. And after I was saved then the Lord told me to preach. I like to went crazy. Ha! I didn't think the Lord would want to call fellow like that to preach the gospel, but I found out he did. " As for the calling, he refers to is being " like you're having a dream. You get something on your conscience and couldn't get it off. "
He'd go out with the coon-dogs and pass the time, going out on a path near his home. " There's a stump on top of that Hill up there. . . I used to go there to pray. And I'd cut notches on the tree. They're healed over now, and they're just notch after notch. " as for the location Sewell has no real reason for going there. It was on top of the hill, and he didn't " know whether I thought I'd get a little closer to the Lord or not; I don't know. "
One of his best memories of being a pastor was the "greatest story of truth," which happened in 1949. He was pastoring at Hale, when the pastor in west Science Hill returned from a trip to China." He wanted me to help in a revival; " by the end of it they had saved 127 people. People came from the Methodist, the Nazarene, the Christian churches to join hands in the revival. " I never thought I'd ever see the day that I'd see the Baptist and the Catholics associate together. "
Besides pastoring locally, Sewell went to Indiana to help out in the revivals and building a new church. He is also the " the only man living, " who preached in all the Baptist churches in the Cumberland River Association. He recalls one very successful revival he held in the backwaters of Lake Cumberland. The water was kind of rough, but "that wind quit blowing and then there wasn't a wave on the water till we got through baptizing them." As they were all shaking hands after the immersion, the waves came back, slapping hungrily away at them.
He still pastors from time to time, just not on a full-time basis anymore. Most recently he worked during the Memorial Day holiday, where he held a memorial service at Pine Hill.
He has also seen tragedies in his lifetime; though they never shook his faith. And what he was a pastor in Hail in Caintown at the Mt. Zion Church, there were two young boys out playing, coming out of a rainstorm. It began to thunder and lightning, and both were crawling through a fence. The older one managed to slip through in time, but the lightning struck just as the young one was going through. It killed the boy, and " split his shoes. . .right up to the back, " even ripping the knots in the shoe laces. The boys mother was inconsolable.
He even saw flash floods, seeing cars washed away in no time. The dangerous experiences left him shell-shocked; he adds that he never even remembered parts of some of those days. And even though Sewell had family who fought in World War II, hearing of their wartime experiences didn't harden him. "I used to think I'd never get down on my knees and pray for a Japanese," he says as he recalls a Japanese man in Cincinnati that he saw around. Sewell invited him to a church service. The man stood in the back for a while; Sewell seems to think he was afraid to take a seat. Eventually the man sat down, and came back a couple of times in the days that followed. He later made a profession of faith. Sewell doesn't think it's possible to get " hardened against someone, " because the experience changed his views and reinforced his faith stronger than ever.
Sewell saw his share of pranks, too. One time some boys put a skunk in the house; other times people had put possums and other animals in as a joke. He had been out preaching one day, only to find a skunk working in his home. He says he didn't get surprised by it though; he just calmly put the skunk in a coal bucket and set it loose outside. He adds however, that the boys had a car wreck less than a month later, and one, maybe two of them, lost their lives in the accident.
Sewell, besides pastoring, also has taken tours of historical churches in the state, including a church in Minerva, Kentucky, which was constructed in 1799. He found this church to be particularly unusual because it had a place to house slaves. The building happened to be built around a kiln, were the bricks were made within the structure as it was being erected. He adds that there number of different churches in the area, like "six churches right there in a nest." There he has also met descendants of the people will building covered bridges in the area.
Sewell admits he didn't really have any hobbies growing up, but he has spent the last 20 years devoting himself to carving wooden objects. Inside his garage, which now functions as a studio, are fragrant blocks of cedar wood, delicate curls of wood shavings, his assorted tools of the trade (some of them quite heavy) and countless boxes and shelves filled with the final product. Bowls for kneading bread dough, rolling pins, paddles and more.
As a youth he enjoyed playing baseball and "Almost was a big league ballplayer." Sewell played third base, the outfield, and a little pitching during the late 1920's and early 1930's. He says he played with Dayton, Ohio team that was scouted by the Cincinnati area, before the Cincinnati Reds were established. He did played with people who were eventually drafted professionally. He also played quite a bit around Somerset.
As for family, Sewell married widow, Madeleine Anderson, who already had two children. Her first husband had died of tuberculosis. He married her when he was 20, and she was just a bit older than that. The couple ended up having eight children together. Madeleine didn't live too far away from Sewell when there were young, just basically down the road. The two used to write letters to each other. She would place her letter in a tobacco can in an old log; then he'd go and pick them up and he'd write back."That was before we got so bold," he laughs.
Besides the 10 children they had, there are several grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even a great great grandchild in the family today.
Children of LLOYD SEWELL and MADELINE PHELPS are:
i. Phyllis L.8 Sewell, b. January 01, 1931.
ii. Betty Faustine Sewell, b. December 20, 1932.
iii. Gerald Keith Sewell, b. August 17, 1935.
iv. Donald Raymond Sewell, b. January 24, 1938.
v. James Paul Sewell, b. January 04, 1941.
vi. Wanda Faye Sewell, b. April 12, 1943.
vii. Merrlyn Kay Sewell, b. April 06, 1945.
viii. Doris Ann Sewell, b. April 20, 1948.
IX. Merrylyn Kay Sewell
X. Doris Ann Sewell
Talk about a wild coincidence .... Thanksgiving of 1963, I was invited to my later to be ex-brother-in-law Danny Hughes' parent's (Nokomis & Martha Spaw Hughes) home for a Holiday meal in Cincinnati (Carthage) and there I struck up a conversation with Danny's young maternal aunt Geneva/Juanita Spaw (a date set-up for me) who'd just moved from Casey Co., KY... turns out that Rev. Sewell was also the pastor at her church and had also baptized her. Sister Jeannie & boyfriend Danny had no idea they had grandparents who had the same preacher but in different churches and they'd been dating since abt. 1959 (both 13 yrs. old)... They married/eloped ;-) 19 Mar 1965; divorced Oct 1978. They had 2 childre: Troy Nokomis Hughes (1968-1999) and Holly Jean Hughes (b. 1974) m/1 Todd Godman and m2/ Marty Hess.